By Jonathan Easley - 02/28/14 03:47 PM EST
Planned Parenthood's political arm announced a new Women are Watching campaign on Friday that, it said, could play a major role in the midterm fight for the Senate.
It plans to invest in U.S. Senate races in North Carolina, Montana and Alaska, and governors races in Florida, Texas and Pennsylvania.
The pro-abortion rights group has already released Webs ads in North Carolina and Texas, where Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis shot to fame after filibustering an anti-abortion bill in the state legislature.
Davis is facing an uphill climb to win her race, however. She trails her challenger, Greg Abbott (R), by 11 points in the polls.
Republicans are growing more confident by the day that they can win a Senate majority in 2014 that would cripple President Obama’s last two years in office.
PPAF believes it can fight back the GOP charge, it said, by building on the “successful strategy that helped propel President Obama to victory in 2012 with a historic gender gap.”
“Our message to candidates that demean and dismiss women is clear: do so at your own peril,” Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund said in a statement.
“We know that women’s health is a winning issue and that no candidate will be able to win without a plurality of women,” Richards added.
In the 2012 election cycle, Democrats unexpectedly picked up seats in the House and Senate, thanks, in part, to a handful of weak Republican candidates who often found themselves in hot water for insensitive remarks about rape and birth control.
In addition, President Obama defeated Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney by 11 points among women, the largest disparity on record.
Issues like birth control and abortion figure to play important roles again in 2014. Republican-led states are seeking to tighten restrictions on abortion, and the Obama administration is wrapped up in a number of lawsuits challenging the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate.
“As we see an unprecedented level of attacks on women’s health across the country, support for access to affordable birth control, Planned Parenthood’s preventive health care services, and access to safe and legal abortion have become a litmus test for many people when deciding who to vote for,” Richards said.